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Abstract

The claim that the citizen's duty is to “persuade or obey” the laws, expressed by the personified Laws of Athens in Plato's Crito, continues to receive intense scholarly attention. In this article, we provide a general review of the debates over this doctrine, and how the various positions taken may or may not fit with the rest of what we know about Socratic philosophy. We ultimately argue that the problems scholars have found in attributing the doctrine to Socrates derive from an anachronistic and erroneous understanding of Socrates as a kind of libertarian.